Saturday, 14 January 2017

On the needles- Noro

Knitting started: October 2016 

I've been wanting to try some Noro yarn since forever and when I found some at my local yarn store (Rosemary's Wool Shop, Aberaeron), I mustered up exactly zero restraint and bought four balls.

I'm making a shawl, the pattern is quite easy but as per usual, I've done a fair bit of un-knitting and frogging. I started out on wooden needles but realised they wouldn't be long enough for the width of the shawl, so changed to circular ones, got a bit mixed up as to which side to knit (seeing as I am not knitting in the round), ripped it and sussed it out.

I'd rate the pattern as somewhere between beginner and getting a bit better. It is sort of easy. Quite OK for me now that I've been knitting for eight years or so but then again, I'm a bit of a dunce when it comes to knitting. So, if you're a natural, go ahead and dive in!

The yarn's nice,  although I thought it quite scratchy at first but I've read it will soften with some hair or fabric conditioner, which I might do after blocking. It is pretty uneven, which I like, because I like irregularity. It's a wool yarn, so no doubt it's a tonne cheaper than the Noro silk blends!

I've been very much enjoying a bit of knitting when I am working from home and have the luxury of leisurely morning coffee. Pretty much the only contemplative time I get these days. 

So yeah,

UK size 4 needles, 6mm.

I can't wait to add tassels and go off flouncing about.

The yarn is Noro Kureyon pure wool.

I was going to simply post a link to the pattern but I can't find anything useable online so I'll have to try to remember. Sorry if this is mad, I'm not much of a pattern person. I am now on my fourth ball of Noro and I need to buy another for the tassels.

Basically, you're going to cast on 4 stitches and repeat an alternating two row pattern, until it's big enough.

Row 1- knit into the front and back of the first stitch. Then, yarn over and knit the next two stitches together. Knit into the front and back of the last stitch. 
Row 2- purl.
Row 3- as Row 1 i.e. Knit into front and back of first stitch. Then yarn over and knit two together (repeat). Knit into the front and back of last stitch.
Row 4- purl.
Row 5- as Row 1. i.e. Knit into front and back of first stitch. Yarn over, knit two together (do this three times). Knit into front and back of last stitch.
Row 6- purl.
Row 7- carry on in this manner until it is big, so, forever, really.
Last row- cast off loosely and add tassels.

January  2017 update:

Is it ready yet? In a word: no.

Soon my Pretties, soon.

Summer 2017 update: 

Finished! Love it! Favourite thing for a lazy Sunday morning with coffee and company. Wonderful in the evening when it's potter and chill. This one's here to stay, I'm so in love.

Let me know if you make one,

Papillon  X

P.S. It is with regret that I have watermarked my pics but someone on Facebook stole ('shared') my profile pic without my consent (it was a favourite landscape of my village and of sentimental value) and I decided that maybe I do have to watermark stuff. I don't know, pfffft. Anyway, the font used is a free font, for personal and business use, called Lemon Chicken and the authors request that if used, you link to their website, Crack-a-Jack Studios.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Sweetly Scrapped- oh joy!

I'm finding it hard to contain my excitement regarding my recent online and in house activities; I've been printing and cutting out the sweetest and most nostalgic filled images from Sweetly Scrapped's 'freebies'. Cutting out pieces of paper is something I find to be soothing. Yes, I know. Never mind. Anyway, these are digital images which are free to download and useable for own use and sometimes even as part of a product, say, an Etsy item. So, what's the catch? There is none. Nada. Rien. Nacaddo. Dim ein bisßchen. Not a bissel.

Emily from Sweetly Scrapped just wants to share and spread gorgeousness throughout the whole world, that's her motivation. I share that desire, glorifying anything within reach = the masterplan.  Beauty motivates me. Yes, my sun (and many other planetary influences) are in Libra.

In return, Emily asks that Bloggers add her purdy tab to their blog, which I have just done, with utmost pleasure. Link back, of course. This is what we do. Linky shary, spready stuff, all good in my opinion. New paradigm methinks. Bien sûr, she has an Etsy shop- here, LOOK!- website here and brilliant blog here. She has about a million billion things that you, Dear Blogger and Crafter, will want and require- labels, stickers, tags, Etsy shop banner, blog headers, ribbons, journal papers... and so on... etcetera, etcetera. BINGO!

So, where are these beauties of which your speak, Dear Papillon?

So much love for these.

Perfect tags for homemade herbal tinctures.

How sweet those blue birds would be on a present.

Rainbow vintage bus tickets- of course!

Brilliant little love tickets.

So many yesses for these.

So then, what have I got and what am I going to do with them? Découpage! Tags for my homemade herbal tinctures! If the cat stays still too long (little chance), I'll paste something on his fluff.

Papillon  X

Decorative tray

I really needed a small container to house some of my jewellery findings. I wanted something inexpensive, functional and pretty. I had a scour of my nearest big-ish town (Aberystwyth) but came up with nothing. Not until I had a brainwave and realised that I could DIY something myself. 

So, I bought a super cheap small sized tray from (yet again), B & M Bargains. They should start paying me now for all the free adverts I run for them. It was maybe a quid, or two. I remembered I had some thin wooden trays in my One day this will be useful cupboard and beneath a rainbow of tissue paper, I found this little gem of old wrapping paper.

If your aesthetic is generally a bit scraggy around the edges (as mine is) and the foundation of your home 'look' is quality, antique, upcycled or handmade, I firmly believe you can sneak in a little cheap chic and no one's any the wiser. As far as the concerns of buying cheap chic go, my maths work out like this: B&M's = negative ethical and eco score (I guess), me making do = rainbow unicorn goodie points, therefore, outcome = neutral? I am sure many would disagree but perhaps they have a more flexible budget than I? I might sound defensive but really,  I'm just being pragmatic. 

Anyway, onto the stuff I love, making.

As with most things in life, the answer lies in either Mod Podge, washi tape or chocolate. Today, the Podge won.

Here's the original tray from B & M's. It's very nice but not quite me. My jewellery findings (crystal beads) are in the plastic bags. 

 The wooden tray used to have small candles in it.

I had three wooden trays, which I decided to paint with a little Dulux tester paint (and then used Mod Podge to seal). I always think it's good to have a few tester pots of emulsion paint in your arsenal, you never know when you might use them.

Painting the wooden trays.

Next, I measured the wrapping paper and stuck it down with Mod Podge. I gave it a couple of top coats too, which took a while to fully dry and go transparent.

Tray with wrapping paper and dried Mod Podge.

To be fair, the wooden trays were tacky for a couple of days, so there was a lot of waiting involved with this little project but it was a delight to finally decant my crystal beads.

Painted wooden trays, crystal beads and silver antler.

And, finally, here's my jewellery findings tray in situ. It just happens to live in a fantastic 1950's, super kitsch glass cabinet, that my friends gave me some years ago now.  

 If I want to see the wrapping paper, I can take the grey wooden trays out.

And that's it, I'm good. I hope this post might prove inspirational to someone out there.

Keep making!

Papillon  X

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Tutorial- Summertime straw holders

Trying to get half decent pictures of this make was more time consuming than the make itself. It's simple really, I couldn't resist these straws (from B & M Bargains of all places) and just had to go a bit further and make them a couple of complementary containers. Just because. Just for fun. Nice if you have kids, teenagers or a party coming up! 

I don't drink this stuff myself but the cans are pretty useful.

Again, I don't super love this paper but I find it handy.

So, obviously, you also need scissors, a rule, a pen and double sided sticky tape. But that's it, cut the paper to size, wrap about five lines of double sided sticky tape around your tin, and then carefully wrap the paper to fit- that's the hardest part. And, that's it, you're done!

Summertime cheer. You could also use these cans for brushes, pens, whatever.

Quick, simple, cheap- big impact, go!


Let me know if you give this a go and be sure to enjoy the sunshine!

Papillon  X

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Whisky melon

To date, the best discovery I have ever made in my whole life is this little (yet important) gem:- melon goes exceedingly well with a good malt. Laphroaig is amazing because in a melon based fruit punch, all of the Islay peat flavours come to the fore, leaving the alcohol behind. Very sadly, I do not have any Laphroaig at present (nor any deep smokey peaty beverage for that matter) and the booze cupboard is in drought season, but there was just  a wee dram (a trickle stream) of placid (heathery?) Dalwhinnie, so it will have to suffice. Beggars can't be choosers after all.

And you could say that my love of whisky (Scotch to some) runs in my blood, for I am of Highland descent on my paternal side but really, it was my mother who was my inspiration. She took it upon herself to finish off whatever education The State had bestowed upon me, by giving me Whisky Lessons. Oh yes. These sessions culminated in her rendition of The Whisky Song (no, not The Doors one, the British folk song naming all the types of Scotch), and a trip to Glencoe, whereupon she bought my impressionable self a thimbleful of Laphroaig, in none other than the utterly atmospheric Clachaig Inn. Oh, the yearning to be back there again! There is a much romanticised Welsh word for this state and it is hiraeth

Now, I have, once again (you will note the common theme running if you have been paying close attention), fallen upon Hard Times. So, what do you do when this happens? Well, firstly I kvetch loudly and incessantly, then I resort to various tactics:- sulk, blame, weep or moan, only to lead me eventually to the contemplation of a watery death off the harbour (for I am too much a wuss for a knife to the chest). In the end, after this predictable morose nonsense, I succumb to something sensible: making the most out of what I have lying around. A lemonade from lemons sort of affair. An indoor foraging session rewards one overripe melon, which is to be both our succour and sustenance.

But just one melon is good but not enough of a show, maybe not enough to steer me away from the harbour and so I decide to tart it up. Remembering a recipe from way back when called (maybe), Melon in Ginger Wine, I set to making my own version. 


*One overripe melon (a ripe one will do fine)

*A wee dram

*Fresh ginger

*Sugar, honey, agave nectar or coconut palm sugar

*The juice of one lime (or lemon or orange)

*Some edible flower petals (mine are marigolds and cornflowers, methinks but you could try rose and lavender, or anything edible, I guess)

*Maybe a few pieces of saffron

*A few fresh mint leaves 


The Blossom Cottage looked good in the picture but tasted like pants


*Halve the melon, de-seed it and chuck it into a bowl. If you have a melon baller, all's the better. Cover the bowl with cling film or the like and put it in the fridge.

*In a pan, add about an inch or so of water and to that add your lime juice, chopped ginger, saffron, mint leaves and flower petals. Of course, as long as things are non poisonous, you can really improvise here and use whatever you have in your cupboards or garden, and if you don't have lime, you could try lemon, or even a splash of bog standard orange juice.

*Gently heat the mixture and add a little sweetener to taste. Allow this brew to softly warm and very gently almost bubble, so that after half an hour or so, the flavours have started to infuse and it is very slightly syrupy.

*Now add the melon juice that has collected in the bottom of the bowl. Leave it to warm again for about another twenty minutes. The main thing is to be gentle and not to over boil your syrup. Taste and adjust as you are going along. 

*Leave your syrup to cool for twenty minutes and then add your whisky. How much to add? Well, I'll leave that one entirely up to you. 

*When the syrup is 100% cool, pour it over the melon pieces and leave the whole thing in the fridge for a few hours, so that the flavours get chance to mingle. 

*Serve on a warm summer's evening. 

Adding the flower petals is akin to alchemy

But I must not bid adieu without first sharing one of my favourite You Tube people with you, Ralphy, who, as he shares his esoteric knowledge, will enable anyone to reach the dizzy heights of whisky connoisseur. 

Papillon  X

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Big shout out to Olivier Marc Thomas Leger

I am overwhelmed by the generosity of incredible UK artist, Olivier Marc Thomas Leger. Olivier decided to send everyone who shared his Facebook page a Narwhal print. Luckily for him, this was for a limited time only because I think he was staggered by the response- he ended up sending 480 parcels! 

Mine arrived today, it is just completely gorgeous, utterly heartfelt and yes, I cried. I cried at the beauty of his work infused with the knowledge that surely, he is depicting these amazing creatures amidst climate change?

An artist I have never met sent me this!

Close up of Olivier's flyer.

Can't wait to buy a frame and hang this beauty on my wall.

Narwhal, unicorn of the sea? I think so.

I can't draw very well and instead I like to live vicariously through the hands of proper artists, what would I do with out them? My soul feeds from their work.

If you like what you see, his website is here, of course you can find him on Facebook, his Twitter is here, and he'll be exhibiting in:

London (7th-10th April, Victoria House and 6th-9th Oct, Truman Brewery)
Belper (1st-2nd May, Belper Art Trail)
Bristol (22nd-24th July, Arnolfini, TBC)
Leicester (16th July- 1st October, New Walk Museum)
Loughborough (13th October - 19th November, Sock Gallery)
Glasgow (Septemeber, Art Pistol) 

That's all for now!  

Papillon  X

Monday, 1 June 2015

Summer bouquet

From Mollie Makes free booklet, Summer Homestyle (2014)

You should know by now that I am a devotee of Mollie Makes magazine. This is what I did last summer (but never managed to post in time), following Mollie's instructions for a Sweet Bouquet. I must admit I generally have a haphazard approach to floral arrangements:- trim the stems and bung everything in a vase is the usual extent of my artistic efforts. Making a balanced and purposeful bouquet seemed far out of reach, until a free little booklet broke down the process, step by step. To say that I was delighted with the results is not untrue. 

My finished bouquet far surpasses any previous attempts

Rose, eucalyptus, mint, lavender and the yellow silver things

All grown in my garden in west Wales

I would like to explain the method but really, I would be taking credit due to Mollie Makes, which is unfair. Tantalisingly (frustratingly?), you'll have to work it out yourself from my photos or ask Mollie Makes yourself. I have no affiliation with the magazine whatsoever (although I will post this blog on their facebook pages, just on the off chance!) but will keep posting about it, as it is a source of uplift and inspiration (awen). You can check the magazine out here.

Wishing you all the beautiful bounty of summer! 

Papillon  X

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